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Libya activists warn against humanitarian disaster in Tripoli

People attend a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. ( Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency )
People attend a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. ( Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency )

Libyan human rights activists have warned of a humanitarian disaster due to the continuing attack by the retired General and Commander of the East Army, Khalifa Haftar, on the Libyan capital Tripoli.

On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, warned of a possible escalation of attacks targeting civilians and infrastructure in Libya, which could amount to war crimes.

In statements to Anadolu, the activists said that Tripoli’s population may face severe danger, namely the possibility that Haftar’s forces will use heavy weapons indiscriminately and the possibility that the city will witness mass displacements if seized by his forces.

The activists called on the international community – and particularly countries that support Haftar – to pressure him to stop the attacks on Tripoli and resort to a peaceful solution under the upcoming political process this month.

They added that if the attack continues, the cost will likely be paid only by civilian women and children in the capital.

READ: France hampers EU calls to halt Haftar offensive in Libya

One of the activists, Libyan journalist Ahmed Al-Mohsen, said that “the situation on the ground foreshadows a humanitarian disaster, if the forces of Haftar keep on invading the capital Tripoli and its environs”.

He stressed in an interview with Anadolu: “The militias and mercenaries fighting with the retired Major General Khalifa Haftar and some remnants of the former regime are firing in an indiscriminate and barbaric manner, so the price will be only at the expense of civilians, as happened in [the eastern city of] Benghazi and other areas controlled by the forces of Haftar.”

Al-Mohsen called on “the international community to pressure Haftar, as well as those parties which finance and support him, such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and others that openly wish to block the success of the Libyan revolution that overthrew [former Prime Minister Muammar] Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.”

Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – which are accused of supporting Haftar – have already announced international efforts aimed at finding a solution that will unite Libya, but have repeatedly stressed their non-interference in state affairs.

READ:  Libya UN-backed gov’t accuses Haftar forces of recruiting children

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